The fact that Bush and Carter attributed their losses to bucking the lobby is significant.
If we focus on the next Democratic president and plan to support him/her/them in an effort to change the direction of US foreign policy regarding Israel Palestine to the degree that they succeed in accomplishing a peace, then the Lobby will be a formidable enemy/opponent in that effort.
The Lobby supports the Israeli government, except when it doesn't. Such as when Rabin and Ehud Barak tried to make peace, the Lobby really wasn't behind them, the lobby's attitude does not have the changing of the guard that a Labor prime minister taking over from Likud entails, the lobby is not elected and cannot change that quickly. it's the same people who supported likud and they do not change on a dime. there needs to be a prolonged sustained governmental change before the lobby's attitude could reflect it in a new attitude. so the lobby was more tied to likud than it was to the changing of the guard implied by the premiership of Rabin and Barak.
But assume that the next president is bernie sanders, just to pick an example. His ability to raise funds on line gives him an independence that is not found elsewhere in politics today. First, please realize: he will frame his goal as a two state goal. Second: the lobby will try to defeat him in this effort.
(It seems that Obama would have been willing to go full court press against Netanyahu, if only the Democratic party wasn't hurting for funds. Given the advantage that republicans have in the electoral college (meaning that it does not reflect the population of the big cities, but rather we are not a nation where the people decide, but nation where the states decide) and the senate (with its advantage to the empty white states in the west), so the ability to navigate foreign policy according to his own vision could be as limited as Obama's despite his ability to raise funds in a presidential campaign.)
In Israel No changing of the guard is coming soon.
Netanyahu will not be in power forever, but there is every reason to assume the continued prominence of the Likud and the right wing. (The vulnerable point in the right wing coalition is in fact the Haredi ultra Orthodox, whose constituency is hardcore right wing, but whose leadership is devoted to issues other than security, and therefore theoretically able to switch sides if some Talmudic expert decides that the policy being proposed fits his own concept of practicality.)
People who support Israel (as conceived previously) but oppose the Israel that has developed will have a tough time undercutting Israel on behalf of Bernie sanders trying to pressure israel. Young 'uns who do not have a history of supporting Israel will not be as difficult to persuade, but the lobby will probably be quite robust in its fight against the bernie sanders peace campaign.
It was a historic day when George the father Bush went into the press room and declared his battle against the Israel lobbyists, the one against the many. Did it contribute to his defeat in 1992? Possibly. but i would blame historical trends. 12 years of republicans was enough and the democrats won the next three popular votes in reaction to it, so the vote in 92 was part of a trend and probably not influenced by the pro Israel reaction against him. Reagan won a few epic electoral victories and Bush's first election was a Reagan III election and Bush on his own lost the presidency, lacked the political skills to connect with enough people to win the presidency on his own. (I think the 1988 Dan Quayle decision was the thing that did him in. It might have been a symptom of his political un sure footed, but it certainly seemed to reveal a hollow center to the man. why not Jack kemp? dan quayle? did him in, in the long range.)
Jimmy Carter was a fluke getting elected and lost in a landslide the second time he ran. to propose that the lobby did him in is a type of political naivete. Jimmy Carter with his malaise speech did himself in. If he had rolled over ted kennedy in the state of new york, would that have returned the hostages. feckless jimmy carter and the hostages, but no, to blame his loss on ted kennedy's strength in going to the convention, that is political naivete again. jimmy carter and history defeated jimmy carter, not ted kennedy. jimmy carter and his daughter amy at the debate against reagan did him in. he was feckless and the country really did not like him at the end. they wanted him out.
but all that is besides the point. the point is that even the next democratic candidate, even if they have a clear vision of what they want to happen in terms of resolving the palestine israel conflict, will be up against the republicans who will oppose it and up against a substantial portion of the democratic party, just out of sheer inertia.
but it's worse than that, because with the comatose two state solution, the most logical direction for that clear vision has disappeared and in its place is something that smacks of political naivete, the beautiful one man one vote future.
If i could see into the future I might tell you how this works out, but I only know that more practical people than me have looked at the situation and declared the one man one vote future very bleak for the jewish future and i have no reason to attribute their opinions to racism, but anything other than sincerity. there is no way for me to measure their opinions or to counter their opinions with miko peled's optimism.
Yet, Daniel Solomon says to remove the Zionist from my name. And in a way, like Gideon Levy says, there are only two sides, free rights for all and the status quo. (Gideon Levy who by the way chastises Nasrallah for being a trouble maker and no help to the cause.)
So then it comes down to what is the easiest thing to chant. I have spent time in Union Square Park and sometimes it comes down to what words come out of my mouth and what phrase passes my lips and causes my heart to leap because i have caught some essence of my deep belief.
And in this case, the voice says, give them the vote. let palestinians vote. let them have representatives in the knesset. and if not, then you are an occupier and it's not a PR problem it's a real problem.
I myself am not offended when someone says of zionism that it is an army in seek of a country. there was nowhere else where such an army could have been built and the logic of this land above all other lands to the movement of jewish self reliance is self evident. so i am still a zionist. to me the line between mila 18 (leon uris) and exodus (leon uris) from primo levi's tale of jewish partisans in the european forest, "If Not Now, When?" to the songs around the campfire in palestine fighting for a state, is the shortest distance between two points.
but the occupation is a major f***up and these likudniks and levi eshkol and hanan porat have dragged Israel into an eternal struggle of such epic ugliness and stupidity that it is a major mess.